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Monday Feb 03, 2020

Innovations that change the world – apply for Patents for Humanity (P4H) by February 15, 2020

Blog by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Andrei Iancu

Patents for Humanity logo

Patents for Humanity is now accepting applications for the 2020 annual awards. This USPTO award recognizes outstanding innovators who use game changing technologies to meet global humanitarian challenges, emphasizing their synergies with business interests and strong patent rights. Winners are recognized in the fields of medicine, nutrition, sanitation, energy, and living standards, and will receive an acceleration certificate to expedite patent application proceedings at the USPTO, as well as public recognition. Any individual, corporation, nonprofit, small business, academic institution, or government agency who has applied for, owns, or licenses a U.S. patent is eligible to apply.

Awardees from the past four years have proven that they can effectively contribute to the global good, while maintaining commercial markets for their innovative products.

For example, Because International received a 2018 Patents for Humanity award and created The Shoe That Grows. Its shoe, which can “grow” up to five sizes, helps prevent soil-transmitted illnesses that affect billions of people worldwide, many of whom are children and living in poverty. Because International has progressed to distribute more than 225,000 pairs of its patented shoes across 100 countries. They are also the producer of Bednet Buddy, a mobile pop-up bed treated with insecticide to help protect against malaria, especially in locations where dwellings are commonly roofless. Because International believes that innovation is key to fighting poverty, and that by preventing barriers to opportunity, their team can help lift people out of destitution. 

The Shoe that Grows

Photo courtesy of Because International.

The Global Good Fund, a 2016 winner, helped combat the 2014 Ebola outbreak with donations of its patented Arktek cooler. The passive vaccine storage device enables vaccines to be kept cold for over 30 days without power, making it possible for vaccines to be transferred to remote areas and lessening the annual percent of vaccine waste due to refrigeration failures. The cooler has been used to store vaccines for tuberculosis, polio, influenza, whooping cough, tetanus, hepatitis B, and diphtheria, providing great aid to areas where power is unreliable. The technology has been licensed to a leading refrigeration company to manufacture the device at an affordable price.

If your organization has patented technology and is using it to help address global humanitarian challenges in unique and creative ways, we invite you to apply. The USPTO will accept applications through February 15, 2020. Please submit your completed application online through the Patents for Humanity page of the USPTO website. Send any questions to


About 50 years ago, an idea came to me for the purpose of growing tree seedlings indoors. My idea is a high density indoor vertical growing system, where literally millions of 6" tall tree seedlings may be grown indoors in an area with the floor space of a typical aircraft hanger. I later modified the design to enable the same vertical growing system to grow spirulina in massive quantities, inside a clean room that is free of insects and transient organic matter found in the outside. I am willing to sell this idea, especially if a US Patent Search proves it to be a unique idea capable of having a patent granted to it.

Posted by Darryl E Williams on February 03, 2020 at 11:23 AM EST #

We are preparing to start manufacturing our patent and patent pending air filtration (face mask and air filter) products. If this is something we could qualify for funding for then we are very interested in pursuing it! Regards, William L. Robinson, Jr. Chairman & CEO US HEAT Corporation

Posted by William L. Robinson, Jr. on February 08, 2020 at 07:13 AM EST #

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